"You cannot otherwise be happy while the spirit of your vocation animates your actions". Catherine McAuley

The word vocation is in its simplest form can be defined as a ‘call’.

There are many things in life calling us and most of these calls occur thousands of times on a daily basis. For people living within the first world, the call of consumerism in all of its facets is a constant. It is the call to purchase the latest and greatest and if we only had that house or car, life would be perfect and we will be fulfilled. Have you ever had an experience where you have wanted something so badly and yet when you got it you actually felt disappointed and even more unfulfilled? Our consumer society is always calling us to want more so that we will buy more.

Other calls in our life include the call on our physical body to look a certain way and dissatisfaction when it instead might look another way and the call to be recognised and receive accolades and see ourselves apart from others, rather than as part of one human family.  I could go on!

There is of course the other constant call in our lives amongst the loud noise of these false calls. It is in most of us a subtler, softer call that doesn’t fight with the false calls, instead it gently seeps through, if only we provide room for it to do so. The essence of this call is one of calling us to return and respond to our innate sense of love of God, others and ourselves.  I say return because the innate sense of love is always within all of us, yet it is often in need of animation. All of us come into the world with a wonderful sense of love, yet in time this love can get muddied as we get caught up responding to the somewhat crazy and misguided calls which are so constantly tempting us.

Making sense of the true call within our lives can be an ongoing challenge.  Our constant prayer should be one of asking God for the grace and guidance of always being open to hearing and seeing God’s call and to ensure that we respond. In answering the call, we can be guaranteed the answer at times will disturb us, take us out of our comfort zone and take us down many different paths. The direction may be similar for some of us, yet different for others. In all of us, answering the true call requires an ongoing response. In being open to divine grace and love in our lives however means that we are not undertaking the journey alone.

Like most things in life ultimately we may not be able to see a clear path ahead, yet taking a step will often lead to another step and before we know it a path has unfolded as you seek to live our lives in answering the true call and the sense of fulfilment and animation which comes with it.

Catherine McAuley has shown the power contained in a true response to the call of God. Today her Sisters and those in partnership with them continue the work of Mercy begun with her response in 1831.

Messages to: John Rochester